Salmon Carpaccio

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Salmon Carpaccio by Gabriela Santos
Story and photos by Jocelyn Alvarez Bibian

Inspiration can come from everywhere, and certainly it can come from food as well. Not only one can get inspired from food, but one can also be transported to special places and moments in time. As a seafood lover, Gabriela Santos, sophomore engineering management major, thought about the dish she was going to prepare, her immediate response was salmon carpaccio.

“Sea food is my favorite kind of food because of the variety, the richness of flavors, [and the fact that] it is not too heavy for the stomach,” Santos admits. As part of the St. Mary’s community, Santos recognizes that “the community is very welcoming and friendly.” As a student, Santos’ career plans have not always been to become an engineer.

“My first choice of major was culinary arts, but when I graduated [from high school], my interest changed from culinary arts to engineering. I decided to leave cooking as a hobby. Now, my career plans are to become an engineer and work on either finance or production, or both,” Santos says. Santos decided to prepare not only her favorite kind of food, but also one of the dishes she used to enjoy back home at El Salvador.

“This dish was always prepared for special occasions or [for] celebrations in my family,” Santos says. “I chose this particular dish because it is one of my favorite and it is very easy to make.” From beginning to end, Santos enjoyed the process of preparing the carpaccio. She was even more delighted when the time came to let her friends try it and watch them enjoy the dish. The different ingredients in the carpaccio present an explosion of flavor, an intense combination of flavors one would not expect. The combination of the smoked salmon, the leek, capers and cream cheese is like no other.

“I have had good experiences most of the time; people like it when they try it. Bad experiences not so much because the flavor can be adjusted with the ingredients, easy fix,” Santos says.

Although the dish represents an excellent entrée, not everyone may enjoy it the same way. “You have to love raw sea food,” Santos says, “and to use the ingredients based on your preferences and taste of palate.”

Regardless of the particular preferences in seafood, this is a dish everyone should try and judge for themselves the unquestionable richness of flavor from beginning to end.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz of smoked salmon
  • Capers
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cream cheese (optional)
  • Ciabatta bread (optional)

Makes two servings.

Directions

First, cut the salmon as preferred (chopped or thin slices) and place on serving plate. Then, cut the leek in slices, separate each layer as much as possible, and place the slices on top of the salmon. Spread the capers over the salmon. Next, add a tablespoon of olive oil over the salmon. Do the same with the lime juice, salt, and pepper. As an option, spread cream cheese on a piece of ciabatta bread and place salmon on top.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by Lauren Cook
Story and Photos by Tawny Davis

When thinking about her favorite foods, Lauren Cook, sophomore criminal justice major, wants to curb her sweet tooth with a chocolate chip cookie. Not wanting the extra sugar and aiming to make a healthier option, she decides to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies which are dairy free, gluten free and vegan.
Her dream job is to become a professor—a desire that helped her choose this dish because she wants to create something that is sharable, but also healthy to eat.
“I actually love all types of food out there, but I love healthier options because there are just some days where I don’t want to feel like I’m eating just pure sugar,” Cook says.
“However, there are days where I just want pure chocolate.”
Cook decided on her cookies to share with her friends because St. Mary’s “homey and small vibe” makes her feel like everyone can come together and share.
“I chose this dish because they are easy to make and you can share with all your friends and family,” Cook says.
“Anyone can make them and add whatever they want to it to make it their own dish.”
Cook says that this is an easy dish to make because it is made up of a few ingredients and any topping or other ingredient of choice can be added easily.
“You can make it your own and it just involves mixing and making them into balls,” she says.
Cook’s secret is to use dark chocolate on top of regular semi-sweet chocolate because it is the healthier better option.
“The end result should be amazing because it is awarding to know that you created this dish for you and your friends,” she concludes.
Ingredients
• 1 cup of oats
• 2 bananas
• 3 tbsp of chocolate chips (or more if desired)
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl combine mashed bananas, oats and chocolate chips
3. Spoon tablespoons of mixture onto cookie sheet
4. Bake 14 minutes until edges are brown
Makes 12 cookies.

Rum Cake

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Rum Cake by Alexis Zepeda
Story and Photos by Sara Jauregui

This delicious Rum Cake manages to create a home away from home for the amazing chef, Alexis Zepeda, senior English major at St. Mary’s University. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Alexis manages to bring some flavors from her family’s traditional recipes to San Antonio, where she now resides for school.

As she prepares for her future career as a graphic designer, her hobbies include art-making, photography, design, and just like any other talented foodie – eating!

“My favorite thing about attending St. Mary’s is that I am able to live in San Antonio, a city full of different flavors.” Cupcakes and ice cream are some of Alexis’s favorite sweets to try around town.

As a result, she spends a lot of time experimenting with traditional recipes by adding her favorite flavors to create new modern desserts. Alexis chooses to share this recipe because it holds a special place in her heart. This delicious Rum cake is a staple in every family function and is traditionally gifted to loved ones during the holidays from her mother.

She gives some tips on how to perfect the Zepeda family’s signature Rum cake such as pouring the glaze over the cake immediately after baking. “The warmth coming from the cake allows the glaze to seep into the cake which adds much more flavor”.

Another tip is to bake the cake for less time than the instructions from the box recommends. “Instead of baking the cake for an hour, I prefer to bake the cake for 45 minutes because it keeps the bread from losing its moisture.”

Finally, she suggests placing the finished cake on a decorative plate for visual appeal. “My family and I always gift Rum cakes to loved ones during the holidays, so every time I make one it’s like a celebration is waiting to happen!”

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (~18 oz.)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.5 oz.)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Rum
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Rum

Makes 12 servings.

Directions

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 F. Grease a bundt cake pan with cooking spray or butter. Sprinkle crushed up pecans on the bottom of the pan. Follow instructions on the box on how to prepare your yellow cake batter. Pour the batter over the pecans and smooth out. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the bread is light golden in color. For the glaze, begin by melting the butter in a saucepan. Add in water and sugar and stir until boiling. Lower the heat and stir the rum into the glaze. After letting the cake cool for a couple of minutes, and while your glaze is still warm, invert onto a serving plate and drizzle part of the glaze on top. With the help of a fork, prick the surface of the cake and continue drizzling with the rest of the glaze. Cool to room temperature and serve.

 

Pizza Rolls

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Pizza Rolls by Sara Jauregui
Story and photos by Alexis Zepeda

Many college students grow tired of eating the same foods in the school cafeteria and often try and find recipes that are easy enough to cook in the kitchens located in the residence halls.
Sara Jauregui, a Sophomore art education major at St. Mary’s University, has found a quick and tasty recipe that many students may have the ability to replicate – pizza rolls. Jauregui has always loved Italian food, and anything that involves tomatoes, pasta, bread or cheese. Though these pizza rolls do not include pasta in the recipe, the other three ingredients make up for it!
Jauregui is from Alton, Texas, so she doesn’t have the privilege of eating home cooked food often. She began cooking in middle school when her mom started working. She says she isn’t the best cook, but does enjoy baking, so these pizza rolls are perfect.
Though she isn’t a professional chef, one thing Jauregui misses about cooking at home is the endless amount of supplies. Living in a dorm and figuring out what to cook with and where to cook the food is a difficult task. “Cooking is a privilege when living in a dorm. Most residence halls have ovens in the student lounges, but it’s hard to cook without a stovetop. Our ‘kitchens’ are definitely not equipped for everyday cooking,” she says.

Jauregui recommends purchasing a disposable baking sheet to bake the rolls on rather than spending money on an expensive baking sheet. As a college student, there is minimal space to store it, and it makes cleanup much easier!
This dish is one of Jauregui’s favorites to make because they only require a few ingredients, she loves pizza, and they are fun to make with the company of friends. They are the perfect snack to make either for a movie night, or even a study date because they are small, filling, and not too messy.

Enchiladas Verdes

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Delicious Enchiladas Verdes
Story and Photos by Madison Perales 

Delicious aromas and the familiar clang of pots and pans brings back comforting kitchen memories for most Hispanic households with food being an important component to the Hispanic culture.

Ricardo “Ricky” Garcia, a senior Psychology major, is no stranger to the sights, smells and sounds of growing up in a Hispanic household.  The San Antonio native currently lives with five other housemates; to their delight he has a 24/7 pass to a kitchen.

When not cooking, he participates in on campus groups such as the Marianist Leadership Program, TRIO and Rattler Awakening.  After graduating, he plans to complete a year of service before enrolling in medical school with the hopes of becoming a pediatric surgeon.

In four years, “St. Mary’s gives [you] the opportunity to be who God calls you to be, with the ones you love”, Garcia says.

As heavily involved as Garcia is on campus, he is still able to adhere to the expectations of the Westminster Lay Community which include: morning/evening prayer, community service and home cooked Sunday dinners.  It was agreed that Garcia prepares a variety of meals for the house at least four times a week.

Garcia admits to loving Mexican and Italian food the most and it was no surprise when he decided to cook Enchiladas Verdes.  His grandmother, mother and aunt inspired him to cook.

“I feel connected to my roots when I cook with all the aromas, music in the background and laughs in the kitchen, I was never taught to cook where as I was always by the side of my grandmother, mother and aunt watching them, picked it up and conquered it through trial and error”, he says.

Garcia cooks with his housemates and make memories, such as the ones he made when he was a boy.  “Growing up we’d always have home cooked meals made by my grandmother, mother, and aunt, they were always high quality meals”, Garcia says.

He admits that cooking can be tedious at times but the end product is almost always worth it.  His favorite part of cooking is realizing how influenced his techniques are by his three favorite women.  His go-to meal, and a personal favorite of his is Spanish rice.

Much like his three influences, Garcia continues the tradition of cooking high quality, home cooked meals for the people he loves and making memories that will last a lifetime.

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups Chicken (shredded)
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 2 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt (varies)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (varies)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 3 jalapeños (varies)
  • 1 pound tomatillos
  • Cooking spray
  • Large bowl
  • Cooking pan
  • Comal

Makes 8-10 servings

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Finely chop all vegetables and shred the chicken, After, combine all chicken, cheese, onion, cilantro, chicken broth (1/3 cup), sour cream (1/3 cup), lime juice, salt and pepper (to taste) in large bowl.  Next, lightly coat pan with cooking spray and spread a light layer of salsa verde to coat bottom of pan and warm tortillas on the comal.  When done, fill center of tortilla with chicken mix and roll up, place seam down in the pan.  Pour remaining salsa verde on top of enchiladas.  Cover and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.  Serve with side of Spanish rice, sour cream, guacamole and chopped jalapeños is desired.

Canoas

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Canoas
Story and Photos by Mei-Ling Camacho

When living away, there is nothing better than the food that reminds you of home.

Brother José Matos Auffant, S.M., Minister of Spiritual Development at University Ministry, brings a taste of Puerto Rican culture through the “canoas.”

Canoas is the Spanish word for canoe—which is the shape of this dish.

“The Puerto Rican native tribe, Los Taínos, were the ones who taught me how to make the canoas,” Matos says.

Taínos were the people on the island known to use the canoas.

“My grandma, Eugenia Vasquez, who was the chef on my mother’s side, was the one who taught me how to make the canoas,” he explains.

Matos also says he likes cooking at Casa María, where he currently resides. For those who are learning how to cook, he recommends a recipe book called How to Boil Water. For him, cooking is not only a way to relax, but also a reminder of his home—Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico, many dishes are made with plantains and this is one of his favorite dishes with it as an ingredient. “They are easy and quick to make,” he says.

As a Marianist brother, Matos has travelled to many countries like México and Venezuela, and lived in different cities like Dayton, Ohio and San Antonio.

However, for him, there really is nothing like home—its people, and especially, the food.

Matos brings us a little bit of tropical flavor, a history lesson and a piece of his home with the canoas.

Ingredients:
Canoas:

  • Baked plantains
  • Ripe plantains
  • Butter or pam
  • Mozzarella cheese (sprinkle)

Beef:

  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • ¼ of tomato sauce
  • ¼ of table red wine
  • Adobo (sprinkle)
  • ½ of Sazón
  • 1 onion, minced

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400. Put the buttered plantains in the oven for 25 minutes with the peel on. Cook the ground beef by mixing the onions, the adobo, the Sazón, the tomato sauce & the red wine. Sprinkle the Adobo on the meat. Take the plantains out of the oven and cut them by the middle, like a canoe. Remove the peel. Also, remove a little bit of the plantain inside to make space for filling. Add the cooked beef inside the canoe, filling it. On the top of the meat, you add the cheese and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes of the canoas being in the oven, let them cool off for about 5 minutes. Servings vary on the plantain count. Use 2 ounces of meat per canoa.

Sriracha Chicken Alfredo

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Sriracha Chicken Alfredo
Story and Photos by: Marissa Colunga

Surrounded by cooking her whole life, Miriam Robles, sophomore economics and international relations major, decided to make a meal she has never tried before: Sriracha Chicken Alfredo.

This dish combines both savory and creamy flavors into a delicious Italian cuisine.

Although this was her first time cooking this dish, it certainly didn’t show as she effortlessly chopped, mixed and diced like a well-seasoned chef.

“While I don’t cook in the residence halls, I tend to cook at home a lot more,” Robles says.

When Robles isn’t in the kitchen, she’s busy studying.

Her varied interests led her to a double major.

Her dream is to go to law school and eventually work for the ACLU as a civil rights attorney.

Her parents, who are avid chefs, helped blossom her love for cooking.

Showing her Hispanic roots, Robles loves to cook Mexican food.

Her favorite dishes are Chilaquiles and Albondigas soup.

“The reason I cooked this dish is because I’ve always loved Italian food and wanted to make a meal that is both easy to eat and quick to make,” Robles says.

“Because this dish is quick to make, you need to have all the ingredients on hand or run the risk of overcooking the meal. To make the meal even tastier, experiment with the amounts of servings. For example, you could add more Sriracha sauce if you are a fan of spices,” she advises.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz fettuccine
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • Fresh parsley as garnish

Makes 2 servings

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, Sriracha and a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and let the chicken cook for 3–4 minutes. Stir in shredded Parmesan and dried parsley. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Serve with fresh parsley as garnish.